Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Bletchley Park New State-of-the-Art Learning Centre opens on D-Day Anniversary

Bletchley Park
welcomed the first group of students through the doors of its new state-of-the-art Block E Learning Centre, housed in a refurbished once top-secret World War Two building. The opening of the Learning Centre coincided with the anniversary of the D-Day landings in 1944. 
Block E Learning Centre, an important wartime building, welcomed 29 Year Six students from Moorland Primary School in Milton Keynes. 
To celebrate the opening of Block E Learning Centre a group of students had the opportunity to meet two Bletchley Park Veterans: 101-year-old Cynthia Holden who worked in the building as a Morse Slip Reader, and 99-year-old Patricia Owtram, who worked as a Special Duties Wren intercepting German Naval messages and passing them onto codebreakers at Bletchley Park. The group also enjoyed a hands-on learning experience with an Enigma machine. 
Block E was built in 1943 and was the only block devoted entirely to communications at Bletchley Park during World War Two. Using encryption machines such as Typex, staff working here handled incoming and outgoing messages, and the distribution of material to various departments throughout Bletchley Park.
The new dedicated educational spaces includeight learning spaces to accommodate everyone from primary school learners to higher education students.  The rooms are bright, well-equipped, tactile spaces, easily accessible by all learners and are designed to host a range of tailored workshops. External spaces have been reconfigured to provide coach drop-off bays and safe access for the visiting staff and students. 
Bletchley Parks award-winning learning programme hosted more than 30,000 students in 2022 but, due to a lack of learning spaces, was heavily oversubscribed. The completion of this project will enable Bletchley Park to increase capacity and grow the learning programme to accommodate even more participants in this dedicated learning facility, inspiring learners with the achievements of the Codebreakers and their relevance to today’s world.
Examples of what is on offer for learners at Bletchley Park: 
·              An overview of World War Two history, with a focus on Bletchley Parks involvement. 
·              Codebreaking through the ages, problem solving and key mathematical skills through both formal and informal sessions. 
·              A close-up look at wartime machinery where students are able to use an Enigma machineand other examples from the Bletchley Park collection to explore codes and ciphers, and to work as a team to solve problems, test their tenacity and exercise lateral thinking skills. 
·              Hands-on interactive learning allowing learners to try their hand at real intelligence-management techniques used at Bletchley Park, and experience some of the daily challenges faced. 
·              A chance to explore contemporary parallels between Bletchley Parks information-intensive wartime work and the digitised world of today. 
·              Onsite learners also receive a guided tour around the site, providing an opportunity for students to delve deeper into the Bletchley Park story. 

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